Although warmer months are the most popular time for travel, they're also the most popular for home burglaries. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 65.8 percent of burglaries are residential and occur in 8 to 12 minutes. Burglars also search for homes that are unoccupied. Since nothing ruins a vacation more than worrying, make sure you've taken sufficient measures to deter burglars and thieves from entering your home. Here are some tips from Master Lock to keep your home safe and secure while you're away.
. Never indicate that you're away from home on your answering machine message. Turn down your telephone ringer volume. Unanswered telephone calls can alert burglars to an empty home.
. Show activity in your home while you're away. Keep a car in the driveway, and keep interior and exterior lights on a timer. Consider a randomized version to turn your lights on and off at various intervals so they don't all come on at once or always on the same schedule.
. Eliminate easy entry points by keeping entry doors, windows and the garage door closed and locked while away. To secure sliding doors, invest in a door security bar that prevents unauthorized entry.
. Suspend newspaper and other deliveries while you're out of town. Also, visit usps.com to hold your mail service.
. If you're worried that people who may have access to your house keys — contractors, babysitters, former roommates — might try to enter while you're away, a product called NightWatch can help secure your home. With a unique locking mechanism, this deadbolt prevents anyone from opening a door from the outside, even with a key. Install them on all doors except one while you're away, to prevent unauthorized keyed entry.
. Most people hide their valuables in one of three places — a dresser drawer, the bedroom closet or the freezer. Burglars know this, so it's better to invest in a proper home safe to protect jewelry, firearms, cash and other valuables.
. Given the rise in identity theft, consider installing password protection software on your home computer to deter tech-savvy burglars. For example, Master Lock Vault is a combination website-mobile application that keeps all your user names and passwords safe and secure, free of charge. You can find out more at masterlockvault.com.
. Give your lawn one last trim, or ask a neighbor to do it for you while you're gone. An unkempt lawn can encourage burglars.
. Lastly, good neighborly relations are a great deterrent to crime. Offer to keep an eye on your neighbor's property while they're away, and they'll likely do the same for you.
For more information on how to keep your home safe while on vacation, visit masterlock.com.